(BIVN) – The State of Hawaiʻi on Friday afternoon announced an additional outdoor-area closure in Puna, mirroring other State and County closures that will be in effect at least through Sept. 18, 2020 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Puna Trail and Hā‘ena Beach, also known as Shipman’s Beach, will be closed at midnight tonight. The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources says the 2.5-mile-long trail and the beach that it leads to have seen “large group gatherings dating back to original COVID-19 related orders and closures back in April.” From the DLNR:
Surveys conducted in April by staff from the State’s Nā Ala Hele Trails and Access Program, showed an eight-fold increase of usage of the Puna Trail, compared to data from 2019. At that time an average of 16 people a day used the trail, while the COVID-19 survey period showed an average of 140 users each day.
The state closures are consistent with Hawai‘i County’s closure of all county beach parks, in effect at least through Sept. 18, 2020.
The Hawaiʻi DLNR wrote:
The Department of Land and Natural Resources supports all county and state rules in an effort to reduce the chances of coronavirus infection on Hawai‘i island, which recently, like O‘ahu, has experienced a surge in cases. Closed signs were put up at the trailhead this afternoon and the WH Shipman Estate which co-manages the trailhead parking lot with the State supports closures, as enforcement is difficult at the remote Hā‘ena beach. County and State law enforcement officers will be patrolling all closed areas this weekend to ensure compliance with all emergency rules.
Also today, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands issued a media release, reminding the public – and Hawaiian beneficiaries – of halted permits and reservations at DHHL beach parks and facilities.
The following Hawaiʻi Island parks and facilities are impacted:
- Kūhiō Hale
- Puhi Bay
- Keaukaha Beach Park
DHHL extended its halt of permits and reservations for camping at parks, pavilions, and halls on DHHL land in early August through October 31, 2020.